The gentle rise and fall of her breathing was peaceful and easy, as I gazed at her from the foot of her hospital bed in the post-anesthesia care unit. Report was given, but I just couldn’t bring myself to walk away from this fellow human in crisis. Her situation was troubling to me, and the solution seemed elusive. She was pleasant, articulate, successful, and otherwise healthy at present, except for her super morbid obesity.
According to her surgeon, she repeatedly refused to discuss her weight, eating habits, exercise, or any modifiable lifestyle factors with him. When he had attempted to broach the topic of bariatric surgical options with her, she adamantly refused to discuss it with him. So, there I remained, after giving anesthesia report to an amazing nurse in the PACU, still at the foot of her bed. Together, we were pondering what we could do to help support healthy changes for this one patient.
Then, it hit me. She is an inpatient now, we have her for at least a few days of care, and what she really needs is…. a nurse
You see, a nurse doesn’t simply name a diagnosis or give a medication. A nurse doesn’t just perform a procedure, apply a treatment, or arrange for home care.
A nurse will assess a family dynamic, identify a fear, and soothe a tired soul with his or her words. A nurse can build that intimate space for communication and human empathy, that comes with providing hands-on direct patient care.
Nurses are there, with the patient, every moment, every day, building the relationships that open doors. This healing space and ensuing trust allow nurses to initiate conversations with patients that no one else can manage.
That is why my patient in PACU needed a nurse.
This is a thank you
, to all the nurses out there, who alongside of me, over so many years, invested so much of themselves in caring for their patients. To all the nurses who took the time to find out what was really going on with their patients and helped them on the path toward healing, I offer my gratitude.
To all of the nurses, quietly toiling away, making a difference every day in the lives of their patients and whomever they touch, I have a message: